News / Africa

Breaking Tradition: Men in Malawi Fight Gender-Based Violence

Malawian women walk past empty grain silos in the capital Lilongwe.
Malawian women walk past empty grain silos in the capital Lilongwe.
Lameck Masina
The Malawian non-government organization (NGO), Men for Gender Equality Now, is challenging the male stereotype by working to end violence against women. They are focusing on men as the agents of change.

Men in Malawi have been considered part of the problem of violence against women because of cultural attitudes that assume male superiority. The NGO's national chairperson Marcel Chisi said their recent studies indicate that 85 percent of gender based violence in Malawi is done by men towards women and girls.  

“When we look at the statistics, men are mentioned many times as being perpetrators of violence and not necessarily part of the solution," Chisi said. "And it’s high time we don’t just point at men as a problem because there are many men of good will who don’t abuse women and therefore [we thought that ] ‘why don’t we take advantage of some of men who are good ambassadors and work with them to transform their fellow men."

Husband school

Chisi said one of his group’s core activities is what is known as ‘husband’s school’ where young and old men are taught how to become responsible fathers and how they can take care of a family.

“It is drawn from women’s groupings like in bridal showers, kitchen top-ups and wardrobe top-ups where they share family practices. But yet when a young man is going into marriage, he is not told anything," explained Chisi. "What it means is that many young men have gone into marriages without necessarily knowing what to do in there.”

Chisi said his group boasts a membership of about 50,000 men across the country. They also work to address a number of other issues which were previously regarded as the female domain like the role of men in HIV prevention, child rearing and men’s responsibilities in the reproductive rights of women.

“On this we are saying: what is the role of men in deciding how many children a women would have in a family? Because normally some women have no say in their families and if men are not [at] a level of empowerment where they can negotiate at how many children they have, then we will have a man who will be bringing in so many children even they know they can’t take care of them,” Chisi noted.
 
The problem of gender violence here is well documented. In 2006, Marietta Samuel, 33, a mother of three children in the central district of Dowa, had her arms cut off by her former husband, Herbert Samuel, in an attack fueled by jealousy.  Her husband was sentenced to a 15 years in jail.

Recently a local newspaper reported that police in the central district of Kasungu arrested a man for slicing his wife’s private parts for refusing to have sex with him in the afternoon.

Despite legal action, the problems persist and that is why Chisi’s group thinks a new approach is needed to prevent the problem rather than just punish it.

Women’s groups, like Maxwell Kaliati’s Centre for Alternatives for Victimized Women, applaud Men for Gender Equality Now. “For us we have seen that this is a very important section because sometimes when you use women’s groups people think that we are being [biased]," Kaliati stated. "But when they [men] are seeing fellows doing the activities, they feel encouraged and think that this is a real case for us to change our behavior.”

Changing attitudes

And some women say it is making a real difference in their lives. Rhoda Mankhwala, a resident of Mbayani Township in Blantyre, said her husband is a different man since he attended one of the meetings organized by the NGO.

“My husband is now a changed person unlike in the past when he used to beat me up for no valid reasons," Mankhwala explained. "He would beat me up for coming late from the market even in the presence of my friends. But when he attended one of the meetings organized by the grouping there is indeed a change”.

Besides Malawi, a similar initiative is being implemented in other African countries including Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces a Chaotic World and the Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid